First saccadic eye movement reveals persistent attentional guidance by implicit learning

Yuhong V Jiang, Bo Yeong Won, Khena M. Swallow

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    31 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Implicit learning about where a visual search target is likely to appear often speeds up search. However, whether implicit learning guides spatial attention or affects postsearch decisional processes remains controversial. Using eye tracking, this study provides compelling evidence that implicit learning guides attention. In a training phase, participants often found the target in a high-frequency, "rich" quadrant of the display. When subsequently tested in a phase during which the target was randomly located, participants were twice as likely to direct the first saccadic eye movement to the previously rich quadrant than to any of the sparse quadrants. The attentional bias persisted for nearly 200 trials after training and was unabated by explicit instructions to distribute attention evenly. We propose that implicit learning guides spatial attention but in a qualitatively different manner than goal-driven attention.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1161-1173
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
    Volume40
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 2014

    Keywords

    • Implicit learning
    • Probability cueing
    • Saccadic eye movement
    • Spatial attention

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